Alice Frieder Weston, daughter of Alex and Corrine Rosenberg Frieder, was born on July 1, 1926, in Manila, Philippines. A
fter attending the Power of Her luncheon for which she was an honoree on Sept. 9, 2019, she passed away peacefully.
She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, and enjoyed a long, full and accomplished life.
Until age 14, she travelled back and forth from Manila to Cincinnati every two years. This childhood left an indelible mark on her personality and view of the world, making her more broadminded. Her interests spanned a wide range, including art, music, science, reading, and tennis.
Alice graduated from Walnut Hills High School at the age of 16, Vassar College at 19, and University of Cincinnati DAAP program at 50.
She remained in Cincinnati and contributed to the community primarily through the arts. She was a collector, artist and patron and received many awards for her contributions in each area.
As a collector, during her time at Vassar she roamed the streets of New York City. One day she came upon an exhibit marked “Non-Objective Art,” which is now the foundation of the Guggenheim Museum’s art collection. It was all abstract and she loved it. It was the first movement that won worldwide recognition that was based in the United States. Realizing that at that time different movements were starting every year, and with a plan to buy pieces just before a movement became popular, she was able to collect pieces at a modest price which became very valuable over time.
As an artist, early in her career she was the photographer for three books, Award-winning “Great Houses of the Queen CIty: Two Hundred Years of Historic and Contemporary Architecture and Interiors In Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky,” authored by Walter E. Langsam, published in 1997, “Architecture in Cincinnati,” authored by Sue Ann Painter, published in 2006; and “Remembering” her autobiography, published on the occasion of her 90th birthday, authored by Penny Hoskin.
In the 1970s, she photographed the Nazca Lines in Peru from a single engine plane. It was there she realized that there were older and more extensive prehistoric earthworks right here at home. So she photographed the archeo-astronomical markers in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia, proving the prehistoric Indians knew how to mark the seasons, which helped plan their ceremonies and their planting time. An exhibit of 40 of these enlarged photographs are in the Cincinnati Museum Center.
Later, her art evolved as she produced hundreds of microphotographs of crystals which she synchronized to music. “Pelias and Melissande” was performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) in 1973 with Thomas Schippers conducting. It was very well received. As the story goes, Schippers whispered in her ear, “lets do another in three years at the Paris Opera.” But sadly, he died shortly after this concert.
Those microphotographs were used again in 1987-89 at the Contemporary Arts Center, and in 2015 for a piece entitled “Crystal Clues to the Sublime.” It has now been acquired and installed permanently in the Cincinnati Art Museum with a descriptive panel, and two chairs for 17 minutes of contemplative viewing.
She commissioned several works from the late Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gunther Schuller. In 1996, her solstice and equinox photographs hailing the arrival of the seasons were projected at the CSO as the orchestra performed Schuller’s “An Arc Ascending,” an atmospheric piece in the style of a Debussy tone poem. In 2017, the CSO performed the world premiere of Gunther Schuller’s “Symphonic Triptych,” his final symphonic work, which Weston commissioned. Sadly, he never had a chance to hear it, since he died a few months before.
As a patron, she served on the boards of the Cincinnati Art Museum (CAM) and on its acquisitions committee; the Contemporary Art Center (CAC), contributing to the committee which chose Zaha Haddid as the architect for the downtown CAC building; the American Classical Music Hall of Fame, personally giving an award to Itzhak Perlman; and the Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati.
She and her husband endowed the Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Gallery downtown, making it the visual arts component of the Aronoff Center. They have donated the bulk of their post World War II modern and contemporary art collection to the Cincinnati Art Museum. She and her husband received the Apple Award for Architecture from the Architectural Foundation in 2001. She was honored by the Arts Community in 2016, and the Cincinnati Art Museum in 2017. Her interests have crossed many genres. Alice has been a friend and patron to composers on opposite sides of classical music such as John Cage and Milton Babbitt.
Still she found time for recreation and travel. Alice and her husband were avid tennis players, with the highlight of their competitive career being in the National Husband and Wife tournament at Forest Hills, New York, during the U.S. Open in 1968. They travelled extensively and enjoyed each culture they encountered.
They embraced an active social life in Cincinnati. Her early childhood took on new meaning in her later years as a movie was produced to tell the story of her father and brothers who worked to save the lives of Jews in Nazi occupied territories by resettling them in the Philippines. This culminated in a trip back to the Philippines in 2015 to see her childhood home and show the film, “Rescue in the Philippines: Refuge from the Holocaust” at the Presidential Palace in Manila with the president of the Philippines in attendance.
Alice is preceded in death by her parents, Alex and Corrine Frieder, husband Harris K. Weston, daughter Virginia K. Weston, and two sisters, Edna Lichtig and Louise Behr. She is survived by daughters Carol W. Roberts (Don), Barbara W. Sasser (Dominick), grandchildren Sara (Brian Tatro), Michelle and Melissa (Jon Rio) Roberts, Emily (Keith Bray), Michael and Zachary (Kate) Sasser, and great grandchildren Katelyn and Alexa Tatro, David and Benjamin Rio, and Aria and Weston Bray. She also leaves behind her partner of eight years James (Jim) Rauth and many cousins, nieces and nephews. Services were held at Weil Kahn Funeral Home, on Sept. 13. Donations can be made to either the Contemporary Art Center, The Cincinnati Art Museum or the charity of your choice.